Documents released by the U.S. Army this week begin to spell out, in often gruesome detail, the $18 billion in fiscal year 2013 cuts that the service would have to endure if sequestration hits on March 1, and Congress funds the Pentagon with a continuing resolution (CR) for the remainder of 2013.
As Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno warned during a Jan. 24 speech, the Army’s Operations & Maintenance accounts would take the brunt of the staggering $18 billion hit. Now, a “Talking Points for Operating Under Fiscal Uncertainty” memo that the service put together for members of Congress adds some detail to the Chief’s statement.
The continuing resolution by itself would lead to $6 billion “less than [is] required for supporting combat operations, sustaining unit readiness and transitioning from combat operations in FY14,” the memo said.
Sequestration would cleave an additional $5.3 billion from O&M, while anywhere from $5 billion to $7 billion could be lost for Overseas Contingency Operations requirements that go toward funding operations in Afghanistan like transporting food and equipment for soldiers and civilian personnel.
The memo calls this $18 billion “devastating to training and readiness in FY13 and affects FY14 and beyond.”
The Army says that these funding cuts will also have a ripple effect on the communities surrounding domestic installations, because there would be a “wide-scale reduction of support contracts with more than 3,000 industry partners, and furlough all 251K Army civilians for up to 22 days.”
Since the Army insists that the 43 percent of the O&M budget that goes toward making sure that units deploying to Afghanistan and Korea are fitted out and trained is sacrosanct, the service is taking that $18 billion out of the 57 percent of the budget used to both maintain and build future readiness in the force. Given that there is only seven months left in the fiscal year, that cut would impact a full 90 percent of remaining O&M funds, “immediately eroding readiness, leaving the Army with fully trained units only for OEF, rotations to Korea and the Global Response Force Brigade Combat Team (BCT).”
This means that 78 percent of all Brigade Combat Teams will experience delays in their normal training regimen of at least several months.
Other impacts include:
Cancellation of new depot maintenance orders, resulting in an immediate release of 5,000 temporary, term and contract employees, mostly in Alabama, Texas and Georgia, with an economic impact expected to exceed $2 billion.
Post-combat equipment repair and maintenance stopped for 1,300 Tactical Wheeled vehicles, 14,000 communication devices and 17,000 weapons.
Cancellations in training would produce a backlog carried into fiscal year 2014 and beyond, resulting in a shortfall of 513 aviators.
Cancellation of all fiscal year 2013 “Restoration and Modernization projects on Army installations. Facility Sustainment is reduced from 90% to 37% to support only life, health and safety requirements.”
The reduction of orders to vendors across the country impacts 3,000 companies, 1,100 of which the Army said “are listed at moderate to high risk for bankruptcy.”